BASANT LAL WADEHRA Vs. UNION OF INDIA
LAWS(DLH)-1996-2-16
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
Decided on February 01,1996

BASANT LAL WADEHRA Appellant
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

RICHARDSON V. MELLISH [REFERRED TO]
PICKERING V. ILFRACOMBE RY. CO. [REFERRED TO]
GILLESPIE BROTHERS AND CO. LTD. V. ROY BOWLES TRANSPORT LTD [REFERRED TO]
A.SCHROEDER MUSIC PUBLISHING CO. LTD. V. MACAULAY (FORMERLY INSTONE) [REFERRED TO]
JANSON V. DRIEFONTEIN CONSOLIDATED MINES. LIMITED [REFERRED TO]
ENDERBY TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB LTD. V. FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION LTD [REFERRED TO]
CENTRAL INLAND WATER TRANSPORT CORPORATION LIMITED AND ANR. VS. BROJO NATH GANGULI [REFERRED TO]
OCCIDENTAL WORLDWIDE INVESTMENT CORPN. V. SKIBS A/S AVANTI [REFERRED TO]
NORTH OCEAN SHIPPING CO. LTD. V. HYUNDAI CONSTRUCTION CO. LTD [REFERRED TO]
PAO ON V. LAU YIN LONG [REFERRED TO]
UNIVERSE TANKSHIPS OF MONROVIAV. INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT WORKERS FEDERATION [REFERRED TO]
PARSHOTAM LAL DHINGRA VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
KEDAR NATH MOTANI VS. PRAHLAD RAI [REFERRED]
S PARTAP SINGH VS. STATE OF PUNJAB [REFERRED TO]
CHAMPAKLAL CHIMANLAL SHAH VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
MOTI RAM DEKA SUDHIR KUMAR DAS PRIYA GUPTA MOTI RAM DEKA TIRATH RAM LAKHANPAL UNION OF INDIA HARI KISHORE RAM CHANDRA LAL RAM DUTTA UPADHYA ONKAR NATH AKHAURIA VS. GENERAL MANAGER NORTH EAST FRONTIER RAILWAY:GENERAL MANAGER NORTH EAST FRONTIER RAILWAY:GENERAL MANAGER NORTH EAST FRONTIER RAILWAY:GENERAL MANAGER NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY:UNION OF INDIA:S B TEWARI:PARIMAL GUPTA:PREMCHAND THAKUR:S B TEW [REFERRED]
C S ROWJEE VS. STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH [REFERRED TO]
RAJASTHAN STATE ELECTRICITY BOARD JAIPUR VS. MOHAN LAL [REFERRED TO]
S L AGARWAL VS. GENERAL MANAGER HINDUSTAN STEEL LIMITED [REFERRED TO]
SAMSHER SINGH ISHWAR CHAND AGARWAL VS. STATE OF PUNJAB [REFERRED TO]
SUKHDEV SINGH THE OIL AND NATURAL GAS COMMISSION THE L 1 C LIMITED THE INDUSTRIAL FINANCE CORPN EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION VS. BHAGATRAM SARDAR SINGH RAGHUVANSHI:THE ASSOCIATION OF CLASS II OFFICERS 0 N G C:SHYAM LAL SHARMA:THE INDUSTRIAL FINANCE CORPN [REFERRED TO]
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF VAISH DEGREE COLLEGE SHAMLI VS. LAKSHMI NARAIN [REFERRED TO]
ARYA VIDYA SABHA KASHI VS. KRISHNA KUMAR SRIVASTAVA [REFERRED TO]
RAMANA DAYARAM SHETTY VS. INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
SUN II BATRA II VS. DELHI ADMINISTRATION [REFERRED TO]
MANAGING DIRECTOR UTTAR PRADESH WAREHOUSING CORPORATION VS. VIJAY NARAYAN VAJPAYEE [REFERRED TO]
MANAGING DIRECTOR UTTAR PRADESH WAREHOUSING CORPORATION VS. VIJAY NARAYAN VAJPAYEE [REFERRED TO]
AJAY HASIA VS. KHAUID MUJIB SEHRAVARDI [REFERRED TO]
SOM PRAKASH REKHI VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
RUDUL SAH VS. STATE OF BIHAR [REFERRED TO]
BANDHUA MUKTI MORCHA VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
P K RAMACHANDRA IYER DR Y P GUPTA DR T S RAMAN OM PRAKASH KHAUDHURI VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
SEBASTIAN M HONGRAY VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
LINGAPPA POCHANNA APPELWAR KALU GOPYA BANJARI VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA [REFERRED TO]
WORKMEN OF HINDUSTAN STEEL LIMITED VS. HINDUSTAN STEEL LIMITED [REFERRED TO]
K C JOSHI VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
OLGA TELLIS VAYYAPVRI KUPPUSAMI VS. BOMBAY MUNICIPAL CORPORATION:STATE OF MAHARASHTRA [REFERRED TO]
BHIM SINGH MLA VS. STATE OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR [REFERRED TO]
RAVINDRA KUMAR MISRA VS. U P STATE HANDLOOM CORPN LIMITED [REFERRED TO]
RAM BABU RATHAUR VS. DIVISIONAL MANAGER LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
LACHMI VS. MILITARY SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR OF BIHAR [REFERRED TO]
SUBODH RANJAN GHOSH VS. SINDRI FERTILISERS AND CHEMICALS LTD [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

DEOBRAT SAHAY VS. UNION OF INDIA [LAWS(JHAR)-2003-4-24] [REFERRED TO]
Yogendra Prashad S/o late Mr.Indrsan Parsad VS. State of Uttarakhand and others [LAWS(ALL)-2010-9-335] [REFERRED TO]
YOGENDRA PRASHAD S/O LATE MR. INDRSAN PARSAD VS. STATE OF UTTARAKHAND [LAWS(UTN)-2010-9-120] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

LOKESHWAR PRASAD - (1.)The petitioner has filed the present writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India assailing letter dated the 8th February, 1983 and 19th February, 1983, both issued by Government of India. Ministry of Energy, Department of Coal. cornveying the termination of the services of the petitioner as Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Central Coalfields Limited with immediate effect
(2.)The facts relevant for the disposal of the above mentioned writ petition briefly stated are that the petitioner joined the National Coal Development Corporation Limited, Ranchi (hereinafter referred to as 'the NCDC') in 1963 and worked as its Chief Personnel Officer until 1965. He, thereafter, from 1965 to 4th December, 1970 worked as Industrial Relation Adviser in the Fertiliser Corporation of India From 4,12 1970 to 1973, the petitioner worked as Director (Administration) in the NCDC While working in the above capacity with the NCDC, the petitioner had a lien on the post of Industrial Relation Adviser in the Fertiliser Corporation of India till 17.3.1972. on which date he was permanently absorbed in the NC DC. On 9.7.1973, the petitioners as appointed as Director(Personnel & Industrial Relations) in Coal Mines Authority Limited. On 11.2.1974, the petitioner was appointed as Director of NCDC and on 4.11.1974 he was appointed as Managing Director of NCDC. In the year 1975, the Coal Mines Authority Limited was re-named as Coal India Limited and the NCDC was re-named as Central Coal fields Limited and the petitioner was appointed as the Director of Central Coalfields Limited on 4.111975 vide letter dated 13.11.1975.
2.2 On 10.11.1977, the petitioner was transferred as Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Bharat Cooking Coal Limited, a subsidiary of Coal India Limited and his tenure was extended for three years w.e.f. 9.7.1978 vide letter dated 10.8.1978. In January, 1978, for about three weeks, the petitioner was working as Consultant Coal India Limited at New Delhi. On 27.1 79, the petitioner was transferred back as Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Central Coalfields Limited. On 8.4.82. the petitioner, as per the averments contained in the petition, was given the additional charge as Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Coal India Limited vide letter dated 17.4.82 until 22.11.82, the date on which Sh. S.R. Jain was appointed as Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Coal India Limited.

2.3 On the expiry of the tenure of the petitioner in July, 1981 as Chairman-cum-Managing Director. Central Coalfields Limited, the petitioner was given a further tenure of two years which was to expire in July, 1983. However, vide impugned orders, it is alleged that the services of the petitioner were illegally terminated on 8.2.83 with malafide motives and on irrcle ant and extraneous considerations.

2.4 It is alleged that all along the service record of the petitioner had been outstanding. His work had been appreciated by the Union Minister for Energy and Union Minister for Finance During the period, the petitioner was the C.M.D. of Central Coalfields Limited. The performance of the above said concern had improved phenomenally, the production of Coal increased and the profits of the above said concern also increased considerably. It is alleged that the petitioner was even recommended for the award of 'Padma Vibhushan' by respondent No. 4.

2.5 It is further alleged that respondent No.4 on 6.11 80 had even sent a telex to the petitioner commending the good work done by him. The work of the petitioner, as per his averments, was commended even by the then Prime Minister, who wrote a letter dated 18.2.82 to Sh. Anand Gopal Mukerjee, a Member of Parliament stating that the petitioner was one of the best officers and had done excellent service to the Coal Sector.

2.6 The petitioner, it is alleged, had taken drastic steps to root out corruption and with the above object in view evolved a new Scheme known as "off-the-shelf Sale Scheme" making over 10 million tonnes of Coal on free sale and banning the issue of adhoc delivery orders of coal to the traders and middle man.

2.7 Certain issues relating to coal. figured in the Parliamentary proceedings and on 20.4.82, several Members of Parliament, who, it is alleged, were involved in the issue of ad hoc release of coal and who were having prior information that the new Scheme, banning ad hoc release of coal. was coming shortly, asked for an inquiry against the petitioner on the ground that he was corrupt However. no specific complaint was given. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha ruled that the Minister would make an inquiry. It is alleged that respondent No.5. who at the relevant time was the Minister of State for Coal in the Department of Coal obtained complaints from different persons against the petitioner. It is further alleged that on 20.4.82, the petitioner was asked by respondent No.5 to amend the new Scheme so as to accommodate the cases for ad hoc releases which were to be recommended by the Ministers. However. the above move was resisted by the petitioner and the Scheme, as originally envisaged was launched on 17.5.82 without the approval of the Minister of State.

2.8 On 16.4.82, the Public Enterprises Selection Board interviewed all the eligible candidates for the post of Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Coal India Limited for the purpose of selecting a regular incumbant and the petitioner was unanimously found as the only suitable candidate. On or around 25.4.82, the Secretary, Coal, Government of India, wrote to the Chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board for the finalisation of the proceedings in terms of the above said interview held on 16.4.82. Around 25.4.82, respondent No.5 wrote a D.O. letter to the Chairman Public Enterprises Selection Board recommending that Sh. S.R. Jain, Chairman & Managing Director. Heavy Engineer- ing Corporation Ranchi be also called for interview and the Chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board called Sh. Jain and other persons for interview on 31.7.82. However. Sh. Jain did not appear for interview and the Board did not find any suitable candidate and the Chairman of the Board on August 2, 1982 conveyed recommendations of the Board to the Department of Coal that the petitioner was the only suitable candidate out of the candidates interviewd on 16.4.82. 31.7.82 and 2.8.82. Vigilance clearance in respect of the petitioner was obtained. It is alleged that thereafter said Sh. S.R.Jain alone was called for interview by the Board on 28 8.82 and the Board it appears revised its recommendations and placed three candidates on the panel. Thereafter, the Secretary Ministry of Energy, Department of Coal, recommended the name of the petitioner from the panel for approval of the appointment of the petitioner by the Appointment Committee of Cabinet.

2.10 However, on 15.8.82, respondent No.4 Sh. Gani Khan Chawdhary asked the petitioner to appoint 25 persons each from Maida, the constituency of the Minister in Coal India Limited and each of its subsidiary companies. It is averred by the petitioner that the petitioner expressed his inability as the recruitment in the unskilled and clerical cadre had been banned by the Government and Coal India Limited and its subsidiaries already had large number of surplus employees in the abovesaid cadres. It is alleged that respondent No.4. who was on tour at Calcutta on that date expressed his annoyance and called the C.M.D. of Bharat Cooking Limited from Dhanbad and asked him to appoint the 25 persons as per the list handed over to him. The Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Bharat Cooking Coal Limited issued 25 appointment letters at Calcutta itself in total violation of the recruitment policy and procedure on the same day though the letters were dated 14.8.82.

2.11 Some-time around September. 1982, there was re-shuffle in the Union Cabinet and Sh. N.D. Tiwari. Minister of Industry was given the charge of the Ministry of Energy also. After a few days. again there was re-shuffle in the Union Cabinet and the charge of the Ministry of Energy was given to Sh. Shiv Shankar. It is alleged that soon after the assumption of office by Sh. Shiv Shankar as Minister of Energy the Minister of State took the file relating to the appointment of Chairman, Coal India Limited to him (Shri Shiv Shankar) and recommended that Shri S.R Jain be appointed as Chairman, Coal India Limited as he knew that Shri Jain was a competent officer. It is alleged that Shri Gargi Shankar Misra (respondent No. 5) made the above representation to Shri Shiv Shankar though Shri Misra (respondent No.5 never had the opportunity to assess the performance of Shri Jain as Shri Jam never worked with Shri Misra (respondent No.5). The Union Minister for Energy yielded to the above persuasion of Shri Misra. The petitioner having come to know the above facts met the Union Minister for Energy and protested and was assured that an equivalent post would be given to him and that his non appointment did not reflect on his competence or career. A note for the approval of the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet was made in regard to appointment of Sh, Jain and the papers were submitted to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister in November. 1982 approved the name of Sh. S.R. Jain and Sh. S.R.Jain assumed the charge as Chairman cum Managing Director of Coal India, Limited on 22.11.82.

2.12 It is alleged that in December, 1982 a proposal was mooted by the then Finance Minister that the petitioner should be posted as C .M .D. Coal India Limited at Calcutta. In January. 1983. the Home Minister addressed a communication to the Prime Minister, referring to the communication of the Finance Minister expressing the view that petitioner may be considered for appointment as Chairman 'SAIL' or be considered for the post of Chairman Coal India Limited. In case the above proposal w as not approved, the petitioner may be appointed as Additional Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Department of Coal. The above view was endorsed by the Union Minister of Energy vide endorsement dated 6.1.83.

2.13 However, on 8.2.83, the letter of termination of the services of the petitioner as CMD Central Coalfields Limited was issued, w hich w as sent on him on 10.2.8 3. The petitioner on 10.2.8 3 itself w rote a letter to Deputy Secretary Coal, Ministry of Energy, that he would automatically revert to the post of Director(Administration) on w hich he had been permanently absorbed in March, 1982 and on w hich post he had a lien. The petitioner was sent a communication by the Deputy Secretary to the Gop\t. of India, Ministry of Energy, Department of Coal dated the 19th February, 1983 stating that the petitioner had ceased to have any claim on any post in the organisation and the cheque for Rs. 15.000.00 as pay in lieu of 3 month's notice was returned to the petitioner. The petitioner vide letter dated 15.3.83 addressed to the Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Energy again re-iterated his earlier contention that he accepted the cheque under protest and without prejudice to his claims. The petitioner as per his averments thereafter has made various representations to various functionaries, but he has not received any reply and hence the petition.

2.14 The petitioner has assailed the impugned communications of termination of his services on grounds of malafides and on the ground that there was no material before the Govt. on the basis of which the above said impugned communications could have been issued; that the petitioner has been dismissed from the post of C.M.D Central Coalfields Limited without any inquiry, without informing him of any charge against him and there has been complete breach and violation ofthe constitutional guarantee given by Article 311 ofthe Constitution of India. In substance, it is stated that action taken by the respondents in terminating the services ofthe petitioner is bad in law, arbitrary, motivated by malafidies and extraneous considerations and, therefore, deserves to be quashed.

2.15 The petitioner in the present petition has prayed - a) that a writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ. direction or order to the respondents to withdraw and cancel the impugned communications dated the 8.2.1983 and 19.2.1983 be issued; b) , that the orders and/or sanction, if any. of the President of India on the basis of which the impugned communications dated the 8.2.83 and 19.2.83 have been issued be withdrawn, recalled and cancelled; c) that the respondents be restrained from interfering with petitioner's function- ing in the respondent No.3 company and discharge his duties; d) that a writ in the nature of certiorari or any other appropriate writ or direction or order directing the respondents to produce all the records pertaining to the service of the petitioner in the Govt. of India, in respondent No.3 and all records pertaining to the selection of Chairman, Coal India Limited by the Public Enterprises Selection Board and the records of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet and the records maintained in the office of the Prime Minister in connection with the above said selection be directed to be produced in the Court; e) that a writ in the nature ofcertiorari or any other appropriate writ or direction or order directing the respondents to produce before this Court all the records relating to the issue of impugned communications dated the 8.2.83 and 19.2.83 and orders and/ or sanction, if any, of the President of India in connection there with be issued; i) that a writ in the nature of prohibition or any other appropriate writ, direction or order prohibiting, the respondents from giving effect to the impugned communications dated the 8.2.83 and 19.2.83 be issued; g) that any other appropriate writ, direction or order directing the respondents to re-instate the petitioner to the post of Chairman-cum-Managing Director Central Coalfields Limited, the post which the petitioner was holding at the time of termination of services be issued; h) that an appropriate writ, direction or order for the production of all the elevant records as would give relief to the petitioner m the facts and circumstances of the case be issued; i) that rule nisi in terms of the above prayers be issued; and j) that such further orders as the nature and circumstances of the case may require be passed by this Court.

(3.)On behalf of respondent No. 1 (Union of India through the Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Department of Coal, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi), respondent No.2(Deputy Secretary to the Govt. of India, Ministry of Energy, Department of Coal, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi), a joint counter has been filed by Sh. T.C.A. Srinivasan, the then Director, working in the Ministry of Steel, Mines, Coal(Department of Coal) in the Government of India. On behalf of respondent No.3, a separate counter has been filed by Sh. R.K. Mehta, General Manager(Administration), Central Coalfields Limited, Darbangha House, Ranchi. No counter has been filed on behalf of respondent No.4 (Sh. A.B A Gani Khan Chawdhary) and on behalf of respondent No.5 (Sh. Gargi Shankar Mishra). On behalf of respondent No.6(Coal India Limited), a separate counter has been filed by Sh. J.D.Purohit, Deputy Legal Manager, Coal India Limited, Calcutta.
3.2 Though, as already stated, a joint counter affidavit has been filed on behalf of respondent No. 1 and 2 and separate counter affidavits have been filed 6n behalf of respondents 3 & 6, but the fact remains that the main thrust in the reply affidavits, filed on behalf of the above said respondents, is that the services of the petitioner as Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Central Coalfields Limited(respondent No.3) have been terminated in terms of his contract of service and no constitutional or legal right of the petitioner has been violated in any manner whatsoever. The above said respondents in their counter affidavits have also contended that the impugned communications terminating the services of the petitioner as Chairman-cum-Managing Director of respondent No.3 were neither arbitrary nor illegal nor based on malafidies as alleged. According to them. the services of the petitioner in terms of his contract of service were terminated vide above mentioned communications and that the petitioner has no cause of action and the petition filed by the petitioner is devoid of substance and the same, therefore, deserves to be dismissed.

3.3 We have heard the petitioner and the learned counsel for the respondents at length and have also carefully gone through the written submissions filed by the petitioner. The petitioner, w ho appeared in person, argued his own case himself. It was submitted by him that right to livelihood is a part of right to life and right to life includes, right to live with dignity. free from exploitation. He submitted that the impugned action on the part of the respondents is arbitrary, illegal, based on malafidies and is, therefore, unsustainable in law. He further submitted that as a result of the impugned action of the respondents he has been subjected to harassment, humiliation, loss of employment and loss of reputation and that for all this he deserves to be suitably compensated. In support of his above submissions the petitioner has placed reliance on a number of decisions - Olga Tellis & Ors. Vs Bombay Municipal Corporation & Ors, ( AIR 1986 SC 180) Bandhua Mukti Morcha Vs. Union of India & Ors. (AIR 1984 SC 802), Sunil Batra Vs. Delhi Administration (AIR 1980 SC 1579). Sebastian M. Hongray Vs. Union of India (AIR 1984 SC 1026). S. Partap Singh Vs. State of Punjab (AIR 1964 SC 72). C.S. Rowjee & Ors. Vs. The State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. (AIR 1964 SC 962). Rudul Sah Vs. State of Bihar & another (1983) 4 SCC 141. Bhim Singh Vs. State of J & K & Ors. (1985) 4 SCC 677, Ajay Hasia etc. Vs. Khalid Mujib Sehravardi & Ors. (AIR 1981 SC 487), Executive Committee of Vaish Degree College, Shamli & Ors. Vs. Lakshmi Narain &. Ors. (1976) 2 SCC SS. Arya Vidya Sabha, Kashi & another Vs. Krishna Kumar Srivastava & another (1976) 3 SCC "83 & The Managing Director, U.P. Warehousing Corporation & Ors. Vs. Vijay Narayan Vajpayee (AIR 1980 SC 840.

3.4 The learned counsel for the respondents on the other hand submitted that the termination of the services of the petitioner as Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Central Coalfields Limited (respondent No.3) by the respondents vide impugned communications is in conformity with the contract of service of the petitioner with the respondents and there is nothing illegal or arbitrary in the same and no malafidies are involved therein. It was submitted by the learned counsel for the respondents that the petitioner is not entitled to any of the reliefs claimed by him and the petition, filed by the petitioner, deserves to be dismissed with costs.

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